Apr 04, 2016

Opioid Abuse: What Can Be Done in the Workplace to Help

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Recently, opioid abuse has been in the headlines, as the number of people addicted to opioid painkillers continues to rise, leading to illegal drug use and in many cases, death. From 1999-2014, there has been a 100% rise in drug overdose deaths. There are several factors contributing to this, but opioid addiction has become a massive problem, rising to epidemic levels. The government has unveiled a handful of measures intended to help curb the nation’s opioid epidemic, including a plan to permit doctors to double the number of patients who may receive a medication used to combat drug addiction.

Currently, qualified physicians are allowed to prescribe the drug buprenorphine to 100 patients each, a cap set to ensure the safe use of a medication that can be addictive in and of itself. The administration’s plan would permit each doctor to treat 200 patients with the drug.

More than 2.1 million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers, and another 500,000 are hooked on heroin. Almost 30,000 die each year — a number that has placed the issue front and center for both the White House and Congress.

In the workplace, many people aren’t aware of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) which give workers a means to reach out for help with a variety of issues, such as confidential advice about overcoming substance abuse, suicide prevention, mental health problems, financial stress, or marital and family issues such as caring for sick family members, and much more.

But programs such as this can not only be of help to workers, they can reap financial benefits, as well. Employers can show a positive return on the investment in EAP, because employees who take advantage of assistance remain healthier and more productive.

Employers should always have a strong communication program to educate employees about their benefits, so all programs are utilized and help improve not only employee health and productivity, but also employee retention, recruitment, and overall morale.

Employee Assistance Programs give employees options for help beyond the scope of their regular health insurance. At AWANE, we offer a strong employee assistance program with the critical components necessary for a successful program. We realize that people may have issues requiring additional and confidential support, and are always looking to build our programs around the overall well-being of our members and their employees.

Since 1929 we have been providing best in class employee benefit solutions for businesses in the automotive, roads, fuel, and related industries. 99% of our members stay with us year after year, and our programs continue to stay ahead of the curve.

For more information about our programs, please contact us today and we look forward to putting our power in numbers to work for you.